Toy Story 3

The long-established trend that any game which started life in another medium will necessarily be awful has been challenged over the last year or so, with incredible games like Batman Arkham Asylum, and good games like Disney Pixar's Up, showing that there's no reason a film tie-in has to be dreadful. Games based on movies for the younger generation were truly notorious, until titles like Up, and Toy Story 3 shows that Disney Pixar's film tie-ins aren't going to be absorbed in the crowds of exploitative junk. Toy Story 3 is a solid, highly enjoyable, genuinely entertaining game, and shouldn't disappoint any fans of the film, no matter their age.

Toy Story 3

The game is accessed through a board game, with each feature on the board representing something you can enter and interactive with. Most of the elements relate to a chapter of the main story, but others include gift shops (where you can view prize toys collected in the main game) and, most importantly, Woody's Round-Up. Now, in theory, the main focus would be on the central story, and it's certainly worthy of note, particularly since it's brilliantly varied. In one level, you play as Buzz, and fight through asteroid storms and Zurg bots on the way to Zurg himself, deep within his complex base. In another, you're acting out something directly from the film, with all the main characters taking part; for instance the night-time escape from the children's nursery. Across the seven or so chapters, there's an incredible variation in gameplay, though the entire experience will likely last only five or six hours. Thankfully, Woody's Round-Up is there to rescue the game.

The Round-Up section of the game sees you starting in a canyon-dominated area, with hardly a building in site. You're then left to gradually earn money by completing missions, and build the town from the ground up, encouraging new people to visit. There are three main areas of the town, which eventually become filled with various shops, including clothing outlets, farms, jails, post offices, schools and more. As more people arrive, more missions become available. It's not quite on the scale of a GTA game, but it has that sort of feel. There's a massive number of missions available, ranging from taking photos through to races on the backs of fire-breathing dragons. The area also expands as you discover new areas, like the Enchanted Forest, Zurg's Spaceport and the Haunted Mansion. With each new area, there are new levels to explore, new missions and a whole load more collectibles. It adds easily another ten to fifteen hours to the game, especially if you want to aim for the platinum and collect all those pesky prize bubbles.

Toy Story 3

Throughout the story and Round-Up missions, you'll notice a few annoying gameplay flaws, usually involving the camera refusing to do what you want. It's not too serious, but there are occasions where you'll jump in completely the wrong direction as a result of wonky camera angles, causing you to restart a section. It doesn't happen too frequently though, allowing you to get on and enjoy what's actually quite a decent platformer. Each character has a different ability to help them get around (like Woody and his lasso), which encourages you to tackle certain parts of each level with specific characters, as opposed to just bouncing around as your favourite one. Aside from regular bouncing, there are a few flying missions, which aren't awful, and (thanks to the Sly and Ratchet games) there are other sensible mechanics like rail sliding to pep up the gameplay.

Visually, the game is perhaps a tiny bit disappointing by modern standards, but perhaps that highlights the fact that the developers have spent some serious time on the gameplay, and not just tried to make it look shine. Don't take that the wrong way, it still looks great, but it's not going to be rivalling any of the big blockbuster titles in the end-of-year awards. Character animations are very decent, and authentically match the films, but they don't have the same depth and variety of, say, Nathan Drake in Uncharted. The levels themselves are bright, bold, imaginative and beautiful, even if not at the graphical frontier. Contrasting levels like the assault on Zurg's base, the train pursuit and the tour through the impressive imagination of a young girl, featuring books flying around and an adundance of coffee, all illustrate just how inventive the game can be. It's a sort of happy, warm game, that oozes fun, despite a couple of rough edges, and to be honest the game is getting the important things right.

Toy Story 3

If you approach the game expecting something that's a bit of gentle, colourful fun, you shouldn't be disappointed. The voicework in the game is very good, with all the familiar talent from the films. More importantly, the whole game, and every element of Woody's Round-Up can be played cooperatively, and that's the perfect ingredient for this sort of game. Even as two adults, it's great fun, and it's a sure bet that parent-child combinations everywhere would enjoy the co-op opportunity. Overall, while not a perfect game, there's a lot of impressive stuff in Toy Story 3, and it's a worthwhile addition to most game collections.

Game details

Game logo

Publisher:

Disney

Developer:

Avalanche

Players:

1-2

Online:

None

Release:

2010-07-16

Trophies:

39

Review summary

Gameplay:

Co-op fun and decent variety

Graphics:

Bright and colourful, but with occasional flaws

Sound:

Decent voicework, but weak implementation

Lastability:

Lots to do with the extra toy box

7.8

Volcanic

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Elena Fisher

So let me get this straight - you're competing with a psychopathic war criminal for a mythological gemstone?

Jeff

When you put it that way, it does sound pretty stupid.

Nathan Drake

Thanks for the input, Jeff.